Wearing a fine suit, whether at the office, a formal gathering, a classic concert, or a dinner party, makes you not only look good, but feel good, too. You may have every little detail down to a tee: which tie, which shoes, which socks, which belt, the all-important pocket square, etc. But alas, often the question that runs through one’s mind is what should one wear on their wrist that not only compliments their style but also resonates with their personality. This can sometimes be a bit of a conundrum.
Firstly, I’d say a lot of it depends on your character. Do you prefer larger or smaller watches, something simple or more ornate and sophisticated? There is a lot to choose from, but you can never go wrong with a classic time-only wristwatch. That said, there are a few rules to abide by. A good men’s dress watch needs to be tasteful enough to not distract from your attire and preferably on a leather strap. The svelteness of the case is another virtue in a classic dress watch. It should be very thin so that it slides easily under your cuff and adds a subtle extra touch to your wrist.
A Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso could be a good choice. Inspired by the Latin word for “I turn around,” the design of the Reverso dates back to 1931. Although the watch was supposedly developed for Polo players, it embodies the very essence of a classic dress watch. Although the original 1931 version only measured a mere 38 mm x 24 mm and 6 mm in thickness, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute to 1931 in 2011. It’s a more contemporary timepiece and perfect to wear with a suit.
Perhaps a Cartier Tank appeals to you more. Created in 1917 and first offered for sale in 1922, the Cartier Tank is an iconic dress watch that has been endlessly emulated since its creation. The Tank’s design was inspired by aerial photographs of Renault FT-17 tanks that Louis Cartier saw in his daily newspaper. The first model produced was a gift for General John J. Pershing as a token of France’s appreciation for his help in ending World War I. Offered in five models – the Francaise, Americaine, Anglaise, Solo and Louis Cartier – the Tank’s iconic design is the perfect match for those suit and tie moments.
While the first two watches I’ve mentioned are square, maybe you prefer something round. One of the most famous elegant timepieces is the Patek Philippe Calatrava, which is only available in precious metal in several different versions. The two most traditional versions are Ref. 5119 with its famous hobnail patterned bezel and Ref. 5196 with a minimalistic small seconds subdial. If you want a different watch with the same level of high-end watchmaking, you could choose a Lange & Söhne Saxonia, an 1815, or even a Richard Lange.
Of course, there are also independent watch brands you could consider, such as Laurent Ferrier. They offer the beautiful time-only Galet Micro Rotor. While some would consider this 40-mm timepiece a bit on the large side for a dress watch, its proportions are perfect for that suit and tie occasion.
Or perhaps you want something that’s different but not necessarily modern. This is where a vintage time-only wristwatch, such as one of the so-called “fancy lugs”-pieces from Vacheron Constantin or IWC Schaffhausen, come into play. Not only are these watches different, but their proportions and characteristics will most likely be everything you need in a dress watch to pair with your suit – plus, they’re likely to be more attainable.
In summary, there are only a few rules to remember when looking for the perfect watch to wear with a suit: 1) You can never go wrong with a classic time-only wristwatch; 2) If time-only isn’t your thing, make sure you’ve got the all-important leather strap, as this will inevitably make it more discreet; 3) Above all, wear something that resonates with you and goes perfectly with your suit.
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